Maybe it was after a string of dates that didn't lead to a relationship, maybe you watched a couple you thought would make it, fall apart, or perhaps, it's just been years of being single. There are all sorts of reasons why you might lose your confidence in love.
But before you start giving yourself a hard time about 'becoming bitter' or worry that your once happy attitude about meeting the love of your life, remember that everyone goes through stages. Even people in relationships may lose their love swagger from time-to-time, and experts agree that the best part about feeling discouraged is what you can learn from it.
It can be a scary time when you no longer feel encouraged to go out and meet new people or when you start doubting if relationships are even worth the time, but before you throw in the towel and move to the Caribbean, try these tips from life coaches and dating experts on how to regain your faith in love. Trust me — it's not worth giving up on.
1. Date Yourself
One of the biggest reasons you might be feeling less than a little lackluster about relationships is that you're putting all of your self-worth and value on if you're in one or not. Life coach Carmen Parks says before doing anything else, check in with yourself. "When you love yourself and know your worth you are less likely to choose a relationship that makes you question true love. Like attracts like. When you love yourself and treat yourself well, you will attract a partner who loves you and treats you well," she tells Bustle. "You can improve your self-love by making sure to speak to yourself in the way you want a partner to speak to you. If you find your self-talk puts you down, choose to change it and speak to yourself with compassion and love."
2. Spend Time With Happy Couples
Do you roll your eyes when you see a sweet couple cross your path? Or get annoyed when your friend excitedly tells you about her great anniversary night with her (loving, amazing, attractive) significant other? Behavioral health coach Gabrielle Loehr says it's time to turn that jealousy into inspiration. "Talk to people you know in good relationships and find out what their dating lives were like before they met. Both people will most likely have dated a bunch of people who weren't right for them and they probably have their own dating horror stories," she tells Bustle. "This is helpful because it can be easy to forget that pretty much everyone has awful dating stories and talking to people who have been through it can be a great reminder that it isn't you, it's just how relationships go."
3. Write Down Your Patterns
Whether you care to admit it or not, we all have dating patterns, and are often attracted to the same type of person, regardless if he or she serves us well or not. Life coach Jennifer Coleman, MS, EdS says getting real — and vulnerable — with yourself and understanding the potential mistakes you're making over-and-over will empower you to make smarter ones. "For example, are you attracted to the partner who initially flatters and excites you and then disrespects your feelings once you're hooked? Don't fall for it! Commit to make different choices," she tells Bustle. "Any sign of disrespect means you're out and feeling confident that you did the right thing. Never try to convince someone else that they should treat you better. Treat yourself better by moving on."
4. Go Out With Your Complete Opposite
A pitfall of being an active dater over a long period of time is that you get really clear about what you want. But the thing about attraction, Loehr says, is that it's not a science. If you want to build your confidence in love, it's important to step outside of your comfort zone and try out a date that you might have originally turned (or swiped) away.
"If you usually date bankers, find an artist or social worker. If you usually date older, find someone younger. If you usually date college dropouts, find a professional and see what that's all about," she tells Bustle. "There are so many different kinds of people, especially if you live in a city. In a sense, dating is kind of like shoe shopping- there are always more cute pairs than you can ever reasonably wear: some styles are going to kill your back, and others might make your feet look weird. There is no one perfect pair of shoes, but a lot of pairs that make you look and feel fantastic."
5. Be Mindful Of Your Company
Try this test: look at the last five people you texted or Gchatted with. Then take a brief scroll of your Facebook newsfeed. Would you describe the overall conversation as positive or negative? If it's all a bunch of complaining, Loehr says it's time to readjust your priorities. "Spend time with people you like and who don't constantly complain or always find the negative in a situation. When your relationships with friends, family and coworkers are doing well, it's much easier to build confidence that you will find love because the relationships you already have aren't sucking all the life out of you," she tells Bustle.
6. Choose Love
Parks says the most important advice? To choose love. Yes — even after another failed relationship. Or after being disappointed when someone breaks a promise. Or seeing a beloved friend get divorced. "Choose to love, love. Focus on the good parts of love instead of past hurts," she tells Bustle. "What you focus on grows. If you choose to notice love everywhere you go your confidence in love will grow."
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